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Former NASA astronaut and Wayne State alumnus Jerry Linenger will present commencement address

Wayne State University commencement ceremony celebrates class of 2012

April 5, 2012

More than 2,200 students will participate in Wayne State University's spring commencement ceremony at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 7, 2012. The ceremony, which will conclude the university's 144th academic year, will be the first ever held at Ford Field in downtown Detroit.

Captain Jerry Linenger, retired United States Navy flight surgeon, NASA astronaut and WSU School of Medicine alumnus ('81) will give the keynote address.

Wayne State will bestow honorary degrees upon jazz great Kenny Burrell and operatic tenor George Shirley. Both are renowned musicians, music educators and alumni of Wayne State. More information on Burrell and Shirley can be found at  

A naval academy graduate, Linenger holds doctorates in both medicine and research methodology, as well as dual master's degrees in policy and systems management. He has also been awarded three honorary doctorate degrees in science.

He was the first American ever to undock from a space station in a Russian Soyuz capsule and the first American to do a spacewalk in a Russian spacesuit. At mission completion, Linenger held the endurance record for the longest time in space for an American man. In 1998, NASA awarded Linenger the Distinguished Service Medal, the highest award conferred by NASA, citing his courage and outstanding service to our country.

Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution of higher education offering more than 400 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 32,000 students.